Creating safer, quicker and reliable communication infrastructure in Africa’s mines

By Chris Mason, Director of Business Development, EMEA Market, at Rajant Corporation:

Mining is dangerous business, and as such communication plays a vital role in improving the safety of individuals and increasing operational efficiency. Mining assets are often part of a communications network, which can add to interference. Operations in remote locations use both autonomous and distantly remote-controlled trucks to boost productivity across the world. Drills and other equipment can run autonomously or via remote access control – but only if the network remains stable. If a network suddenly malfunctions, operations can be significantly halted, negatively impacting production and risking operator safety.

The challenges Africa faces in mining are not a far cry from other regions – the need for reliable connectivity in extreme conditions, real-time data delivery, and collaboration. Where many countries already have some pre-existing, albeit outdated, communications infrastructure; many countries in Africa have no pre-existing infrastructure upon which modern technology can be integrated into pre-existing mines.

By implementing mission-critical communication systems like Rajant Kinetic Mesh® networks, risks are drastically reduced by providing constant communications between miners and their support teams ensuring fast and timely responses – which could prove vital in emergency situations.

Rajant’s Kinetic Mesh® networks are unlike any other wireless mesh network offering on the market today, providing fully mobile wireless broadband connectivity that is simple, instantaneous and fail-proof in any application – a “living” mesh solution that moves and evolves with connectivity demands. Rajant has already deployed this adaptable network with mining specialists – Anglo American, De Beers, Vale and Exxaro – across multiple Sub-Saharan Africa countries with great success.

Using a combination of BreadCrumb® wireless network nodes and InstaMesh® networking software, Rajant Kinetic Mesh® networks employ any-node-to-any-node capabilities to continuously and instantaneously route data via the best available traffic path and frequency – for any number of nodes, all with extremely low overheads.

The BreadCrumbs® work autonomously to provide optimal connectivity across an organisation’s dynamic environment of fixed and mobile assets, delivering robust applications in real-time. If operational downtime can result in million-dollar losses, mining operators must be empowered to continuously monitor, manage and control their fleets of high-value equipment, vehicles and personnel wherever they roam.

Kinetic Mesh® networks, proven to stand up to the extremes of mine environments across Africa, effectively connect sprawling open pit and underground mining operations. By placing BreadCrumbs® directly onto these vehicles, shovels and pumps, you can seamlessly link them together as part of an ever-moving Kinetic Mesh® network—gaining real-time, decision-making information from each asset’s applications on status, efficiency, maintenance needs, and more, even as they move across and under your rugged topologies.

With the ongoing communication and development work to implement the latest networking infrastructures in multiple countries in Africa, it is now at a key point in its technological revolution. By exploiting its lack of pre-existing infrastructure and successfully deploying and reaping the benefits of Rajant’s Kinetic Mesh® networks – providing fully mobile wireless broadband connectivity that is easier to deploy, adaptable and with no single point of failure, the continent has a great opportunity to take advantage and connect its people and devices in critical surroundings.More…



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